A law enforcement official told The Associated Press on Thursday that Michael Enright's journals did not appear to contain anti-Muslim rants.
The official says an empty bottle of scotch was found in a bag Enright was carrying, along with the journals. The official says the journals described his experiences embedded with U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.
The 21-year-old Enright is jailed on charges he attacked the cabbie after the driver said he was Muslim.
Defense attorney Jason Martin told the judge his client was an honors student at the School of Visual Arts, had volunteered in Afghanistan and lives with his parents in suburban Brewster, N.Y.
To deny bail, given his background, "I don't think is warranted," Martin argued.
A representative for the volunteer group, Intersections International, called the situation "tragic."
"We've been working very hard to build bridges between folks from different religions and cultures," said the Rev. Robert Chase. "This is really shocking and sad for us."
The group, founded in 2007, says it's dedicated to promoting justice, reconciliation and peace among people of different faiths, cultures, ideologies, races and classes.